Homemade Cheez-Its

Homemade Cheez-Its

Cheez-Its

It’s been a busy month of kitchen experimentation.

Edible Books, our Twitter-based book club, has wrapped up our October book, Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese.

As I’ve read, I have tried a few recipes from the book, including homemade ricotta cheese and cream cheese.

I couldn’t resist just one more experiment: homemade Cheez-Its.  Now, I can’t even remember the last time I ate a Cheez-It.  But the recipe looked manageable and recreating such an iconic snack food sounded like fun.

It really was fun, except for the fact that Cheez-It dough is a lot like pie dough, and I’m hopeless at making pie dough.  If you’re even halfway competent with dough, you can make these without any fuss at all, but I did a bit of struggling and cursing during the rolling part.

And they really do taste just like Cheez-Its!  Mine weren’t quite as crispy, but no matter how long it’s been since I’ve had a Cheez-It, I do remember the taste.  Bland at first, then a powerful hit of savory sharp cheese that wafts up into your palate as you chew.  Memories…

I declare homemade Cheez-Its a success.  These are a simple, tasty appetizer that doesn’t require last minute preparation and can sit out to be nibbled on before dinner.

Homemade Cheez-Its

Cheez-Its

(slightly adapted from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese)

  • ½ cup (1 stick) regular salted butter, cut into small chunks
  • ¼ lb sharp cheddar, grated
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup plus tbps all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Put butter, cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne in food processor and pulse until the mixture forms small bits.  Add the flour and pulse until well combined.  Add the Worcestershire sauce and pulse again.  The dough should be moist and come together in your hands.

Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead it once or twice until it forms a ball.  Flatten the ball, wrap tightly, and chill for one hour.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick.  This may be easier if you roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.  Cut the dough into 1 inch strips, then cut the strips into 1-inch squares.  Gather and reroll the scraps and continue cutting.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  The crackers won’t expand much, so you can fit them closely together.  Make a small hole in the center of each cracker with a skewer or toothpick.

Bake for about 15-17 minutes, or until the crackers darken just a bit.  Cool completely on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Makes about 70 crackers.

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10 thoughts on “Homemade Cheez-Its

  1. Hannah

    Cheez Its were a favorite snack of mine growing up! Totally easy to snarf a box of… Yours look so tasty! I just made homemade cheese crackers for the first time on Halloween (looking for not-sweet orange treats to balance out the sugar). Wow, they are my go-to appetizer now and will be perfect to have around with Thanksgiving house guests. I’m adding Worcestershire next time (I make Jennifer Reese’s W sauce recipe and it’s divine).

    Reply
      1. Hannah

        Definitely! It would make a great holiday gift,too. The only change I made is I use honey in place of the dark corn syrup. I now use Worcestershire in lots more (including a grilled cheese).

  2. Peter S

    I read a book a few years ago about the history of the candy industry. Apparently, M & M’s are formulated to be just sweet enough so that your craving for sweetness is not quite satisfied with a handful, you do want more. In a way I can understand the motivation there, why make them so heavy that people get tired of them quickly.. i wonder if Cheez-its are made the same way, with just enough cheese flavor, but not too much, so that you want to really stuff yourself with them to get a good amount of cheese flavor.

    Imported crackers, especially crackers from the UK like Jacob’s, are sold here in the US at a huge markup. They’re often better than our own national brands, but I’m usually too cheap to shell out the $4 a box for them.

    Reply

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